AN official opening ceremony for the Milland Stores café has marked a major expansion of the village facility.
The ceremony saw dozens turn out from across the area.
Shop chairman Philip Watts said: “This will give us an even greater opportunity to welcome the many visitors we expect this year.
“Expansion of the café follows a successful 2013 for the shop, which was opened by actor Hugh Bonneville in December 2011.”
The café used to have around a dozen seats but there is now room for 25, plus a further 16 or more outside on the newly-extended decking area.
Added to this shortly will be a new café menu with a bigger range of light meals, snacks and drinks on offer.
The café has recently obtained a licence to serve drinks with meals so customers are able to enjoy the specially-imported Milland Stores wines.
“These really are something special,” added Philip.
The success of the community shop has been the result of generous funding from contributors including the South Downs National Park, Chichester District Council and Milland Parish Council.
Philip said: “All three funders have also provided much moral and practical support since the project was started in October 2009.
“Another vote of thanks goes to the staff – manager Claire Findlay and also Kriszta Sloan, Ted Wright, Nadia Findlay and Sean Stears.
“The shop and café is heavily reliant on a wonderful team of volunteers who help keep it open for seven days a week.”
Shop committee member Izzy Fraser was delighted with the shop’s progress.
“The launch went very well indeed, and was well received.
“We had an excellent turnout, with around 40 people come along.
“Everybody thinks the shop extension looks very pretty, and it will allow us to serve a lot more people – the cafe has doubled in size.
“News is spreading fast about the store and we can now expand our menu and sell our own wines, for which we have been granted a licence.
“The lunchtime menu will improve, with lovely homemade cakes and biscuits and afternoon clotted cream tea in the summer for walkers and cyclists to enjoy.”